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Fun Fact: Mariachi concert is July 23. What's a “mariachi?”

Mariachi Camp 2010The unmistakable blend of trumpets, guitars and Spanish melodies will waft through the College of Music July 19-23 during the fourth annual Mariachi Camp.  The word “mariachi” has been in use for decades; what is a mariachi? 

A. Mexican musical group

B. Bass guitar

C. Mexican cowboy

D. Peasant from the state of Jalisco, Mexico

The correct answer is A, probably D and associated with B and C. Mariachi refers to a group of musicians who sing and play trumpets, guitars, violins and the distinctive vihuela and guitarron. Both are types of bass guitars.

A mariachi, though not specifically a cowboy, is an individual who plays and/or enjoys mariachi music, culture and traditions. Mariachi bands typically wear the cowboy - charro - attire of skirts, pants and short jackets decorated with leather and silver.

Mariachi originated in rural Mexico and Jalisco, the western state of Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara. The music became popular with laborers, and in the 1930s, President Lázaro Cárdenas used the music in his election campaign. Over time, mariachi became a symbol of Mexican culture and is now solidly entrenched as a musical genre around the world.

Enter to win a UNT T-shirt - perfect for wearing to the mariachi camp closing concert - by sending an email to InHouse with “Mariachi” in the subject line by 5 p.m. July 15. Winners will be selected at random from all responses. The concert is at noon July 23 in the Auditorium Building.

Four former campers have completed a year at UNT, and five have been admitted for fall, all inspired by camp attendance and campus experience. 

Donna Emmanuel, music, Mariachi Camp“When I started the program, it was to make connections with public schools,” said Donna Emmanuel, left, associate professor of music, and camp founder. “And I wanted to give Hispanic students who were second, third and fourth generation a chance to reconnect with their culture. But it’s gone way beyond that.

“Now it’s all about building relationships that are lasting over time,” she said. “The UNT students graduate and start much-needed mariachi programs in the public schools and the high school students come to UNT because of the sense of family that builds from attending camp and getting to know the UNT students and other high school mariachis.”

Professional mariachis and brothers Jóse Hernàndez and Jesús Hernàndez, both of Los Angeles-based Mariachi Sol de Mexico, will share their insight during camp. Mariachi Sol de Mexico has played in such venues as the White House and Lincoln Center and has recorded with The Beach Boys, Willie Nelson and Selena. The group has performed on numerous movie scores, including A Million to Juan, Rango and Seabiscuit.

Campers also will learn from members of UNT's student group Mariachi Águilas (eagles) and current and former UNT students who perform in the local professional group Mariachi Quetzal.

Camp fee is $200. To donate to scholarships, contact Elida Tamez, director of development for the College of Music, 940-565-2243.

Photo, UNT student Jesse Pineda, left, with 2010 camp participant Davian Diaz. (Photo by Michael Clements)


Posted on: Tue 12 July 2011

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